Is there any truth to the stories of conspiracy, secret groups and hidden power, and if so, who is really behind it all? Can there be a rational and scientific explanation for the elements of folklore, vampires, ghosts, witchcraft and demonology?
Or is the truth more prosaic?
Central to the TotenUniverse is Rob Wallet, failed music journalist and author of the book Clowns Don’t Cry: Glam Rock in the 1970s.
With his career on the slide Wallet sets out to investigate one of the strangest mysteries of his childhood: the killing of four members of the rock band Toten Herzen in 1977. Wallet discovers the band members are still alive and attempts to rejuvinate his own musical career by persuading them to make a comeback.
Inept, obsessed with a yearning to return to his 1970s childhood and utterly besotted by the band’s lead guitarist, Wallet must endure accusations that he is orchestrating the biggest hoax of the 21st Century. But is he capable? Is the man more at home collecting old comics and watching reruns of Van der Valk responsible for the return of one of the most notorious rock bands in history?
Alongside Rob Wallet is Toten Herzen’s lead guitarist Susan Bekker. Intent on emulating the iconic success of her hero Jimi Hendrix, Bekker is prone to debilitating paranoia and ruthless ambition.
Born and raised in Rotterdam Bekker had the drive, the talent and the determination to drag the band out of its working class roots and into the arenas of Europe and America. But the musical landscape of 2013 is a lot different to that of the 1970s. Undeterred Bekker maintains the cunning, aggression and if necessary the violence to achieve her goals.
And what if people are suspicious of her eternal good looks? Like the other members of the band, Bekker hasn’t aged a day since she was last seen thirty-five years ago, fuelling speculation that the comeback and Rob Wallet’s involvement are an elaborate publicity stunt.
- Jennifer Enzo – unpredictable assassin and grand-daughter of an English Satanist known as Mother Enzo
- Virginia Bruck – duplicitous university lecturer subjected to rumour and suspicion
- Frieda Schoenhofer – Bamberg witch and millionaire businesswoman
- Raven – Toten Herzen’s blue haired fangirl and hapless daughter of Nottingham’s last remaining Trotskyist-Leninists
- Tom Scavinio – harassed New Yorker and Toten Herzen’s manager with a few secrets of his own
- Bernadette Maldini – Interpol agent closing in on the truth behind Toten Herzen and the potential link to a wider European conspiracy that stretches back four centuries
The rest of the band:
- Dee Vincent – the gobby troublemaker on vocals
- Elaine Daley – the moody enigma on bass
- Rene van Voors – the arch-joker on the drums
And orbiting them all, the deranged fans of Toten Herzen, the corrupt network of covens known as Malandanti, rival rock band There Will Be Blood and a panoply of weird hangers-on, killers, spivs and nutcases.
Hoax or reality?
…Yves Sunier and Diana May Ronson at the Institute of Quantum Biological Studies in Vienna have considered the possibility and implications of every human being possessing an anti-matter version of themselves. In a recent paper published in the Vienna School’s journal they gave a name to this anti-human: the Janome…
But where are the Janomes?
All around us, according to Alexei Berkoff, the Ukrainian philosopher and author of the book Quantum Effect and Supernature. In a symposium held in September 2011 at the University of Kiev, Berkoff, Sunier and Ronson shared a stage and discussed the possibility that Janomes could account for the myth of the vampire, werewolf, ghosts and other elemental forms that are found throughout the world’s cultures in their folklore.
The novels contained in the TotenUniverse will take you on a journey in which the line between fact and fiction blurs, leaving you to decide what is real and what is made up.
WHERE WILL I GO?
The stories will take you to Bamberg and Wurzburg, the scene of Europe’s largest witch trials in the 1600s.
You will travel to Montenegro and Lake Klontal in Switzerland in the company of Satanists in search of the Devil’s help.
The hunt will take you to Helsinki and the Italian Alps; you’ll search for manuscripts in Vienna, ghosts in Monaco, puppets in Prague and corpses in Turin.
Music will carry you across the mountain tops of the English Lake District and on to St. Petersburg, passing through Rotterdam in Holland and Minsk in Belarus.
WHAT DO I GET OUT OF ALL THIS?
You will be there at the creation and evolution of a 21st Century myth, a modern-day folk tale with its origins in 1308, passing through the witch trials of the 1600s, the formation of a legend in 1973 and its fateful rediscovery thirty-five years later.
You will see bizarre events unfold, characters grow, live and die, and learn to look at the world differently; a world in which the real and the unreal, natural and supernatural exist side by side.
Encounter themes of redemption, regret, the nature of innocence and reality of sin, explore the big lie of personality, the cruelty of lifelong searching, the risks of ambition, and why rioting is good for tourism.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST ME?
To begin with, nothing. The first novel in the series We Are Toten Herzen is free to download. Everything else comes at a price!
The websites will contain blogs, story extras, articles, features and music. The coming-soon newsletter will include updates and snippets filling in the gaps between novels, and the coming-later-than-the-newsletter Alien Noise magazine will contain interviews, reviews, articles and exclusive short stories.
The proposed series is eleven novels from start to conclusion. An approximate investment of £25 or ten cups of average coffee, seven pints of bitter or a forest the size of Wales. (And spread over ten years makes it cheaper than a mortgage.)
The TotenUniverse is more than a collection of books, it’s a lifestyle, an experience, an invitation to enter another world within our own and experience the most ambitious literary project ever attempted. (<< Promotional hyperbole!)
WHAT OTHERS SAY.
WE ARE TOTEN HERZEN: “Chris Harrison picks up those pieces and creates a vampire universe that surpasses Anne Rice” (Jason Denness, Amazon)
TOTEN HERZEN MALANDANTI: “sublimely entertaining, addictive and best of all very very funny” (Hilary Mortz, author of the Rockline series)
THE ONE RULE OF MAGIC: “Harrison’s unique slant on this genre was refreshing, well-researched and highly enjoyable for people like me who don’t often read this type of book” (Rupert Dreyfus, author of Spark)
“I don’t think the pressure killed him,” said Dee, “he drank like a bastard. Triple beer killed him, not hard work.”